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You are here:4.1.1 Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge

4.1.1 Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge

Pasochoa is a 500 hectare Wildlife Refuge reserve protected by the Ecuadorian government and managed by Fundacion Natura.  Pasochoa is a very accessible temperate forest located in the western flank of the central Andes on the western slopes of the extinct Pasochoa Volcano.

The Wildlife Refuge elevation ranges from 2800 to 4210 meters.  Pasochoa reserve protects some high grassland Páramo, but the most accessible habitat is the Upper Montane Forest which can be seen near the parking area.



Páramo Grassland, Temperate Forest, Upper Montane Cloud Forest.



Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge.

From Quito you can have an easy birding day trip to Pasochoa.  Pasochoa is only an hour drive away from Quito and the site can be accessed year around with any kind of vehicle, except during the rainy season from late December to early May.   During this time a 4-wheel drive is recommended, if not usually essential.

There are plenty of buses running from Quito to Amaguaña.  These buses can be taken in the intersection of the Avenue Simón Bolívar and the General Rumiñahui Highway at a roundabout in the central east end of the city. This roundabout is known as “El Trebol”.Make sure to take a bus running along the General Rumiñahui Highway heading to Amaguaña.  Should you take the bus to Amaguaña, you could hire a taxi or pickup truck to take you Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge. Further information about Pasochoa can be obtained by visiting writing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling phone number 3317547 or 2272 863 Ext: 328.  The site is open 7 days a week from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.  Visitors will be asked to pay the entrance fee US $10 and $2 for Ecuadorians at the ranger’s station by the parking lot.

Visitors can stay overnight in the camping facilities or in the dormitories.  There is a $2 US fee per camper to use these facilities.  The use of the dormitory is US $4 per person.  There are 2 dormitories with capacity for 10 persons to each one. These dormitories share bathrooms and cold showers. There is also an apartment with capacity for 6 persons sharing a hot shower bathroom and a kitchen to prepare meals. The reserve doesn’t have a restaurant or means to provide the visitors with food. 



Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge.

The four-lane Ave. General Rumiñahui Highway starts at the intersection of Calle Pichincha and Ave. Simón Bolívar at the roundabout known as “El Trebol”, in the central eastern side of the city.  We will call this point 0.0km.  Take the Ave. General Rumiñahui Highway east, and stay on the main highway without taking any exits.

(Click here to download Map. Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge).

At a point 4.0 km down the highway there is a toll booth.  Drive past this toll station 8.2 km, or 12.2 km from Quito, and you will come to a major intersection at the small town of San Rafael.  Remain on the main street straight on and drive ahead for 1.6 km, or 13.8 km from Quito, and you will arrive at a fork in the road.  Take the left hand turn and drive for 100 meters at 13.9 km from Quito.  At this point you are driving pass “San Luis Shopping” on your right. Take the road to the right and drive another 3.8 km, or 17.7 km from Quito.  At this point you will reach to a roundabout with a colorful hummingbird statue in the middle.  At this roundabout, take the second exit to the right.   Drive another 0.8 km, or 18.5 km from Quito.  At this point you will get to another roundabout.  Avoid the first exit on your right as it goes back to Sangolquí, and take the second exit.   Drive 3.2 km, or 21.7 km from Quito.  At this point you will get to a crossroad where you have to access the highway and continue to the left.  Do not go to the right as it returns to Sangolquí.   Drive 8.1 km more, or 29.8 km from Quito until arriving at a traffic light where you have to exit the main highway and turn to your left.  The Pan-American Highway is only 4.5 km ahead from this point. 

After exiting the main highway at the traffic light please reset your odometer to 0.0 km for future references.  Drive uphill for only 0.1 km to a fork at a church known as Iglesia El Ejido.  At this point take the right hand road and drive 1.6 km, or 1.7 from the highway.  Here you will get to a fork.  Stay straight on the main road ahead to the right, avoiding the turn to the left.  From this point continue on for 0.2 km, or 1.9 km from the highway.  At this point you will get to a place where you must continue on the main road straight ahead, and avoid the left exit.  Drive another 1.4 km, or 3.3 km from the highway.  At this point you will get to a crossroad where you must stay on the main road straight ahead.  From this point drive for further 0.4 km, or 3.7 km from the highway to another crossroad.  At this crossroad you have to continue driving along the main road straight ahead for 0.9 km, or 5.6 km from the highway, until you arrive at the parking lot at Pasochoa.  After paying your entrance fee, you can take any of the self guided trails into the forest.  The red and blue trails are easy walking and remain in the second growth forest,  where several more common species could be found, look specially for Shining Sunbeam and Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager.  The Sword-billed Hummingbird is a common visitor to the Brugmansia trumpet flowers around the house facilities behind the parking lot.  These trumpet flowers were formerly known as Datura.  The Yellow and Green trail will take deeper into forest in better conditions to look for:  Rufous Antpitta, Bar-bellied Woodpecker, Agile Tit-Tyrant, Crowned Chat-Tyrant, Golden-crowned Tanager and Plushcap.  At times the majestic Andean Condor can be seen soaring over the valley.


Birds to look for

Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge

Second-growth   (2G), Forest (F).

Common: White-collared   Swift , Shining   Sunbeam (2G,F), Great Sapphirewing (2G,F), Buff-winged Starfrontlet (2G,F),   Tyrian Metaltail (F, 2G), Blackish Tapaculo (2G,F), Superciliaried   Hemispingus (F), Scarlet-bellied Mountain-Tanager (2G,F), White-sided   Flowerpiercer (2G), Plain-colored Seedeater (2G).

Uncommon: Sword-billed   Hummingbird (F), Black-tailed Trainbearer  (2G,F), Rufous   Antpitta (F), Tawny Antpitta (2G), Bar-bellied Woodpecker (F), White-browed   Spinetail (F), Ash-colored Tapaculo (2G,F), Agile Tiy-Tyrant (F), Crowned   Chat-Tyrant (F), Golden-crowned Tanager (F), Buff-breasted Mountain Tanager   (F).

Rare: Andean Condor, Undulated   Antpitta (F), Andean Pygmy-Owl (F), Páramo Seedeater (F).

Copyright © 2010 by Lelis Navarrete

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Meet the Author

Lelis Navarrete – Birding tour leader. Lelis has 19 years of experience as a birding guide and naturalist in the field. He has led groups of birders throughout most of Latin America, guiding frequently in countries like his native country of Ecuador and in the Galapagos Islands, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Panama. A Biology B.Sc. graduate from Universidad Católica in Quito, Lelis has supported Jocotoco Foundation since its founding in 1998 and was an active Board Member until 2010 supporting Ecuadorian bird and wildlife conservation. Lelis divides his time between his two great passions in life: birding and spending time with his wife Solange and son Fabian with whom he lives in Quito.


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